Here we are again.

The radio silence has been broken.

I have been absent for more than a month now. Truth be told, I can’t work out if I had simply lost my voice, or simply had nothing to say. Not to be melodramatic or anything, just a temporary feeling of voicelessness: an imaginary constriction of both physical and metaphorical vocal capacities. But I’m here now.


It’s been a year since I started this blog. 12 months since the very first post. I’d love to serve my ego by talking about how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve grown with the time and experience, but fuck that. I will settle for saying I am different from how I was last year. I just wanted to mark the occasion with saying something – anything.

I am conscious that February 2016 has no entity in this space. It’s empty. Recently however, I was invited by one of my lecturer’s to a reading event for Creative Writers. This was an opportunity to stand in front of a microphone, as well as a small audience, and read an original piece of work. After a weekend of procrastinating, I accepted the invitation. With some hindsight, I probably should have considered having something ready to present beforehand.


Nevertheless, I wrote something the night before, and gave my first ever reading. Not just a reading, but for the first time I shared a piece of creative work publicly outside of this blog. I thought I’d share it here, as I’ve been told that it may be ‘enjoyable’ to read. That is for you to decide, though.

It’s simply called ‘Who is John Fisher?’


Who is John Fisher?

Who the fuck wants to know?

I’m sorry. What I mean is ‘who really cares?’

I know a little about John Fisher. So do most people in town – it’s not a big place. He’s a young guy – makes sandwiches at the deli during the day; works the bar watering the people at night. Some folks used to see the guy twice a day on a regular basis. Sure, they’d recognise his face in a missing persons ad, but they’d likely draw a blank on a name. Even if the ad’s been circulating for a couple months.

You hear about Sally Palmer? Works the kiosk at the convenience store just round the corner from here. You know, the one that sells the ‘under the counter’ stuff? Come on, we all know about it. We just don’t talk about it because we like to save our money and get our fix. Cheap cigarettes, drugs, whatever we want without danger of Johnny Law sniffing around our business. Anyway, nobody’s seen her in a few weeks either. The guy that owns the store says she just never showed up for work one afternoon, and he hasn’t heard from her since. He hasn’t a clue why people have suddenly stopped coming to the store on such a regular basis.

I could name a few other people; a few also regular missing person faces in the paper lately. I don’t need to tell you, but nobody really talks about them. Nobody calls the cops with a tip, a sighting, or any useful information. Reason being that they just don’t have anything to offer. All people want is to be fed, to be sedated, to be served. The hand that feeds changing is just a mundane interruption. So who cares, right?

Well, tell the truth, you should. John is the guy that feeds your fat face in the day, and liquors you up at night so you can abandon your shame. Sally counters the government’s ever-increasing tax hikes for us simple-Joes so we can smoke, drink and get high off our asses even when the money gets tight. Mark keeps the streets clear so you don’t get yesterday’s trash in your beamer’s wheel arches on the way to work each day. Ralph provides the security in your neighbourhood. Marilyn ensures your mail gets to your every morning. Sam waits your table. These people keep your lives running every single day. When enough of these people disappear, you will find that the people you do know will also start going missing. Folks who run your errands. Folks who maintain your personal life style. Folks whose names you’ll know, and can’t replace so easily. Just imagine your assistant, or caterer, or driver, or general ass-wiper disappearing without warning. You wouldn’t survive a day. These people run your life.

I know this because an idea is like a virus: give it the right conditions and it will spread and spread, latching onto every suitable host and reproducing the ideology until it amasses a body that poses a threat to the status quo. In layman’s terms, these no-names that you hear about – that guy at the deli, that girl at the store – are hosts to the same virus that will infect and collapse your lifestyle. You will no longer be a happy consumer in Camp Capitalism. You’ll be left with just your own two hands: one to wish in, and one to shit in. And you best hope this virus doesn’t reach you, because whilst these missing people are just carriers of the idea, you won’t fare so well with affliction. Your face won’t be in the missing persons ads like theirs. Yours will appear in the obituaries.

You don’t like that much, do you? Cheer up! What do I know – right? You may live a long happy life, and every morning will start for you like something out of your own idealistic fairy tale. Tomorrow always comes. Don’t let me spook you with stories about John Fisher.

After all, I’m just the guy who makes your sandwiches.


I realised midway through writing this that I had fused an existing idea with an exerpt of ‘Fight Club’. One thing I can say I have learned in the last year is that this is no bad thing. No idea is wholly original anymore, and some of the best stories are heavily influenced by older ones. I didn’t really receive feedback beyond the comments  of ‘good job’ and ‘nice one’ – things you’d expect to see scribbled at the end of primary school homework – but I broke a barrier with this. I have written a short piece that is complete. I have shared it, unashamed. I have reasserted my control over my voice.

Moving past ‘Forgotten February’, I hope to build further here.

Thank you for following me thus far.

office yay


Listening To: Kingdom Hearts Orchestra: World Tour


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Tunes and Tracks (17/04/2016)

I’ve noticed a few trends in my pursuit of new music. Sometimes it’s a discovery/rediscovery of an artist I like/liked. Sometimes it’s a cover of a song that makes it really novel. Whatever it is, it either passes like a phase, or falls into the rest of my collection to be played whenever shuffle settings allow, rather than be a starting point when I go out and put the headphones on.

So I thought I would share the songs that I’ve been listening to a lot over the last week or so. Firstly, it will be interesting to chronicle what I was listening to at a given time in the future, and secondly because I recommend giving each a listen if you aren’t familiar with them. As much as I wanted to call this a playlist, it really isn’t because the songs don’t really work together. With the exception of the Counting Crows track and Paper Moon cover, it’s on the rock side of things (with a little anime flare), and I’ve included links in the titles.

So, in no particular order…

Why Don’t You Get A Job – The Offspring

I love this song, and I just wish I heard it earlier in life. I think it could have likely talked me out of a bad relationship far sooner! Punk and Ska bands really do have a way of addressing negative issues with clever rhymes and great beats! Get ya reggae vibes here (and lose that bitch/dick). I really ought to get a job, thinking about it….


All Bad Things – Motley Crue

I heard this, and saw the video, only about 2 weeks ago. I don’t have a clue how it evaded me for so long, given how much I love Motley Crue. Still gives me chills to think this is the last song they ever put out together, and seeing the history of the band in montage is cool.


Run – Sick Puppies

This song is really growing on me, and I don’t really understand why. You could say the lyrics are relatable, but I’m not entirely sure that’s all it is. I think there’s something in the beat that is has a ‘driving’ effect, coupled with really smooth but powerful vocals. Worth a listen, and quite a contrast to the usual Sick Puppies sound.


Rise – Sixx:A.M.

Yeah, this isn’t the most recent single for the upcoming album, but this one has stuck with me as a musical motivator more than ‘You Have Come to the Right Place‘ or ‘Prayers for the Damned.’ It’s exciting hearing where Sixx:A.M. are exploring musically, moving on from Modern Vintage (which was 70s pop inspired). So much talent in the trio, would recommend listening to the aforementioned tracks as well as checking out the back catalog.


Coz I Luv You – Slade

I actually stumbled onto Slade when I was looking into The Jam for a previous post (see here) – which reminded me that besides ‘Merry Xmas Everybody‘ I didn’t know anything by them (Fun Fact: I will not acknowledge that it’s Christmas until I have heard this song somewhere at least once). This is a track I had in fact heard before, and now I know what it is I keep playing it!



So this is the end theme to the anime 7 Deadly Sins (it’s on Netflix, check it out) and it’s so catchy. I have been blasting this to try and get some energy going to do anything. It’s been fairly effective, but doing anything slowly whilst it’s playing just feels wrong! Maybe it’s just me, but it’s on here all the same.


Not Strong Enough – Apocalyptica ft. Brent Smith (of Shinedown)

This is just beautiful. I may not be as big a fan of Shinedown as I was when I was 16, but the combination of the melodic Apocalyptica with Shinedown’s vocalist gets me right in the feels (similarly for ‘I Don’t Care’ with Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace).


Paper Moon – Tommy Heavenly6 (AmaLee & DJ-Jo cover)

Another anime entry, this is the second opening theme to Soul Eater. However, Amalee and DJ-Jo have remixed it and covered it in English, and it sounds pretty cool. Nothing appears to have been lost in translation, and Amalee has pipes! If you like this, it’s worth checking out other covers she’s done.


Mrs Potter’s Lullaby – Counting Crows

‘If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.’

I really like this song. It’s been consistently on playlists since Christmas when I got the Greatest Hits album. I don’t know if it’s possible to not like this. I don’t fully understand it, but I don’t care. It’s a dream like song that just resonates with me. A real gem.


Don’t Let Me Down Gently – Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish are the band that got me into Ska-Punk. For the friends of mine that are bigger fans, I don’t care if you don’t like Candy Coated Fury. It’s a solid album that won’t fail to pick you up. Plus, lyrically, it’s hilarious. I highly recommend it. Just listen, I haven’t really got anything to say that the music doesn’t say for itself!

*I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore will also hold a special place in my heart, also worth listening to with the amusing animated video: here.


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The Jam, The Whole Jam, and Nothing but The Jam

Where to START! (I’m not even sorry) with The Jam ?

Normally I’d like to focus on an album or period but, let’s face it, The Jam was just non-stop progression from 1977-82. To pull apart and fixate on any one point in their career is… well, it’s too hard for me to do. What makes the group amazing, is the full journey of the band.

I’ve been a Jam fan since I was a kid, and in hindsight I think that was the START! (I promise I’ll stop doing that) of my love of punk and new wave: the genres that are defined by their clever lyrics and in-your-face sound. Growing up with a natural rebellious streak and always wanting to read between the lines, it was love. A love I consistently cheated on with metal and hard rock, but a love I always came home to, and shared me with glam (a sweet relationship, right?)

So, this was a recommendation. Instead of picking an album, I’ve been watching videos of Weller’s genius and listening through what they’ve done over 6 albums. This was better than commenting on hits I already know word for word, and learning some history. It only dawned on me how definitely British the group is (yeah, yeah, Weller’s voice NEVER gave that away). I mean more in terms of their success. The songs are all written about working class life in England, from “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” to “Town Called Malice”, and the more you listen to the albums (not just the “hits”) the more you hear the influences in the sound as well as the lyrics.

Paul Weller grew up in an environment where most people only wanted to mirror what their parents had – a 3 bed house, a family, a stable job – and this fueled his writing. I think the rejection of mediocre dreams is something that always resonated with me. Although this is a foundation block to the punk movement, what he had to say in his music always hit home more than Sex Pistols or The Clash ever did. It has always been easier to relate to, particularly as I got older and now that I’m getting into the London groove.

In terms of how they got from “In The City” (1977) to “The Gift“(1982) is amazing. There are countless bands, needless to name (you can fill the gaps), that take time to find their sound and a lot of music (or quality thereof) is lost in transition . The Jam is a real rarity in that nothing was really lost and each album was great at moving from strength to strength. It makes it harder to admit, having said this, that “Going Underground” and “Beat Surrender” are still my favourite songs as they were at the end of their career, but gems like “The Eton Rifles“,  “Pretty Green” and “‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” that came along the way will never die.

I suppose that although I have been comparing them to punk acts, The Jam are more in the new wave (some say Mod or prog-rock, whatever) movement. However, it’s easy to draw that comparison from their influences – The Who, The Clash, Sex Pistols. I’ll always pool them with my punk albums though. Even looking at their albums, they are tight at 30-40 minutes long, with no filler, and always challenging the status quo. The same could be said of their lifespan, cranking out 6 albums and all of their singles landing in the charts, finding their sound and always maintaining relevance until the end, and beyond, all in 5 years. That’s pretty punk, but yet they’re not. 

In summation (having really not said all that much), The Jam is deserves a place in British musical heritage and was revolutionary. If nothing else, they make me want to pick up my bass and play along more than almost any other band.

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The Journey of 1000 Albums Starts With A Single…. Wait….

Whilst a nice idea – this is total crap!

Firstly, am I really going to consciously listen to 1000 albums on a predetermined learning trajectory? Secondly, the album of choice today wasn’t even chosen by one of the singles! Why the title? Fancied it. I guess with this title Journey may have actually been more appropriate. Damn…

My choice was actually inspired by my old man. I can’t associate the band with anyone or anything else, and I remember when I was younger (and knew oh so much better than anyone else) being told more than once this album was one I needed to listen to. I actually kept hold of a copy of it, and I’m listening to it right now – the second time round now – I thought it was as a good a place as any to start, and I had to agree – people need to be AWARE of this album if they have any interest in classic rock. Age is no excuse for ignorance. Admittedly, I’m a little late to the party here…. Fashionably late! Whatever… Shut up and listen.

So my specimen for this evening is Led Zeppelin’s ‘Untitled’ album – or Led Zeppelin IV. Funnily enough my own ignorance cemented the choice. I felt the itch to listen to Immigrant Song and thought ‘Oh yeah, that’s on that Led Zep IV album. I can dig that out and educate myself on that‘ – this is after owning the thing for about 6 years. Some of you will already reacting as you read that because you know Immigrant Song is not a track on this album. Let’s focus more on the fact I’m someone who actually loves CDs in an age of iTunes and Spotify, okay?

So having listened to it a couple times round (just restarted it for a third roll-around), I recognized a couple tracks (namely Stairway to Heaven and Rock and Roll). These and Misty Mountain Hop were the highlights for me. I would definitely recommend this to pretty much anyone  for a listen as each song is completely different from the next – almost in a non-fluent way, but certainly in the way that keeps your attention.This is opposed to a lot of modern rock/metal album have 1 or 2 original tracks and then 8-10 same-sounding tracks that sort of merge together. It’s like chewing the same piece of gum for 45 minutes – it went a bit stale a while back but you were waiting for the chance to get subtly rid of it instead of just swallowing it.

My verdict on one of the world’s best selling albums is that it was fun to listen to – I did wonder if there was going to be an end to ‘Battle of Evermore‘ (I promise you there is) but at no (other) time was I ever inclined to skip a track, and the tracks are growing on me with each play through. It’s very different from anything else in my library and feel I understand the influence they had on artists that came later that I love now. I definitely feel better having been educated on a legendary piece of rock history.

So, older folks reading this, or younger folks who actually listened to their parents’ recommendations the first time around, I don’t know how much this does or doesn’t resonate with you and your own opinions but feel free to let me know!


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